According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a low-fat diet with increased fruit, vegetable, and grain intake reduces the risk of death after breast cancer.
The trial followed 48,835 postmenopausal women without breast cancer for 8.5 years. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two diets, a low-fat diet and a standard diet. The dietary goal for the low-fat group was to achieve less than 20% of total calories from fat and to increase intake of fruits and vegetables to five servings a day, and grains to six servings a day. The remaining participants in the control group ate their usual diet, which resembled the standard American diet (SAD).
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, the standard American diet has too much fat and too few fruits and vegetables. Most fat is consumed as oils in packaged foods such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, prepared vegetables, corn and potato chips, and as saturated fat from meat, cheese, and other dairy products.
After 8.5 years, there were fewer deaths in the low-fat group, but the difference was not statistically significant. During the 16-year follow-up period, the number of deaths after breast cancer was significantly reduced in the group following the low-fat diet.
The authors concluded that a low-fat high-fruit-vegetable-grain eating pattern may lower the incidence of death after breast cancer.
Christine Dobrowolski is a nutritionist and whole-foods advocate.